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7/1/2021 Governor signs into law Sen. Mack’s bill that establishes African American history education in public schools
STATE HOUSE – Governor Daniel McKee has signed into law legislation sponsored by Sen. Tiara Mack (D-Dist. 6, Providence) that would incorporate African heritage history Education in all Rhode Island elementary and secondary schools.

The goal is for all students to receive instruction on African heritage history in order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the crucial role that Rhode Island played in the slave trade throughout the history of our nation, as well as the many contributions African Americans have made to our society.

“Over the past year, I have witnessed our youth courageously stand up for what is right and this curriculum will further supply them with the knowledge to create a just and equitable world that embraces blackness and all other diverse aspects of our society.  Through this, I have an abundance of hope for our future and this curriculum will give our next generations the blueprint to build this equitable, tolerant and respectful world and a society that celebrates its blackness not only in the past and the present, but into the future,” said Senator Mack.

The legislation (2021-S 0458A) calls for every school district to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on African heritage and history utilizing, but not being limited to, the materials collected and disseminated by the Department of Education, commencing with the 2022-2023 school year.

The bill does not require school districts to require African heritage history instruction in every year, but that African heritage education and instruction shall be utilized during appropriate times in the elementary and secondary school curricula, as determined by the local authority. All students should have received instruction on African heritage and history materials by the time they have graduated from high school.

The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society will be leading the curriculum design, working with Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island Historical Society.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903